from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Metal that has been drawn out into a strand or rod, used chiefly for structural support, as in concrete, and for conducting electricity, when it is usually insulated with a rubber or plastic cladding.
  • noun A strand or rod of such material, or a cable made of such strands twisted together.
  • noun Fencing made of wire, especially barbed wire.
  • noun The system of strings employed in manipulating puppets in a show.
  • noun Slang A hidden microphone, as on a person's body or in a building.
  • noun A telephone or telegraph connection.
  • noun A telegraph service.
  • noun A telegram or cablegram.
  • noun A wire service.
  • noun A pin in the print head of a computer printer.
  • noun The screen on which sheets of paper are formed in a papermaking machine.
  • noun Sports The finish line of a racetrack.
  • noun Slang A pickpocket.
  • intransitive verb To equip with a system of electrical wires.
  • intransitive verb To attach or connect with electrical wire or cable.
  • intransitive verb To attach or fasten with wire.
  • intransitive verb Slang To install electronic eavesdropping equipment in (a room, for example).
  • intransitive verb To send by telegraph.
  • intransitive verb To send a telegram to (someone).
  • intransitive verb Computers To implement (a capability) through logic circuitry that is permanently connected within a computer or calculator and therefore not subject to change by programming.
  • intransitive verb To determine genetically; hardwire.
  • intransitive verb To send a telegram.
  • idiom (down to the wire) To the very end, as in a race or contest.
  • idiom Sports (under the wire) At the finish line.
  • idiom Informal (under the wire) Just in the nick of time; at the last moment.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In paper-making, a general term for the woven brass wire-cloth used in a Fourdrinier or paper-making machine.
  • noun By derivation from this, an annealed wire of size and weight suitable for weaving into nettings, wire-cloth, and the like.
  • noun A corruption of weir.
  • To bind, fit, or otherwise provide with wire; put wire in, on, around, through, etc.: as, to wire corks in bottling liquors; to wire beads; to wire a fence; to wire a bird-skin, as in taxidermy; to wire a house for electric lighting.
  • To snare by means of a wire: as, to wire a bird.
  • To send through a telegraphic wire; send by telegraph, as a message; telegraph: as, wire a reply.
  • To be wound or bound about like wire; encircle.
  • In surgery, to maintain the ends of (a fractured bone) in close apposition by means of wire passed through holes drilled in the bone.
  • To flow in currents as thin as wire.
  • To communicate by means of a telegraphic wire; telegraph.
  • noun An extremely elongated body of elastic material; specifically, a slender bar of metal, commonly circular in section, from the size which can be bent by the hand with some difficulty down to a fine thread.
  • noun A twisted thread; a filament.
  • noun A quantity of wire used for various purposes, especially in electric transmission, as in case of the telephone, the telegraph, electric lighting, etc.; specifically, a telegraph-wire, and hence (colloquially) the telegraph system itself: as, to send orders by wire.
  • noun A metallic string of a musical instrument; hence, poetically, the instrument itself.
  • noun The lash; the scourge: alluding to the use of metallic whips.
  • noun In ornithology, one of the extremely long, slender, wire-like filaments or shafts of the plumage of various birds. See wired, wire-tailed, and cut under Videstrdda.
  • noun plural Figuratively, that by which any organization or body of persons is controlled and directed: now used chiefly in political slang. See wire-pulling.
  • noun A pickpocket with long fingers, expert at picking women's pockets.
  • noun A fiber of cobweb, a fine platinum wire, or a line upon glass, fixed in the focus of a telescope, to aid in comparing the positions of objects.
  • Made of wire; consisting of or fitted with wires: as, a wire sieve; a wire bird-cage.
  • In electricity, a kind of Wheatstone bridge in which two adjacent resistances are formed by a wire which can be divided in any ratio by means of a sliding contact and a graduated scale.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English wīr; see wei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English wīr, from Proto-Germanic *wĩraz, from Proto-Indo-European *wei- ('to turn,' 'to twist,' 'to plait'). Cognate with Swedish vira ('to twist'), Latin vieo, viere ('to weave together'), Welsh gwyr ('bent'), and Greek ίρις ('rainbow').


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  • Used as a verb in North American sports reporting:

    "Stars centre Mike Ribeiro wired a shot that trickled through the legs of Luongo."

    Luongo, Canucks outduel Stars,, 4-18-07.

    May 21, 2008

  • "11. A pickpocket with long fingers, expert at picking women's pockets.

    12. A fiber of cobweb, a fine platinum wire, or a line upon glass, fixed in the focus of a telescope, to aid in comparing the positions of objects."

    --Cent. Dict.

    August 30, 2011